As part of an ongoing battle between Amazon.com, Inc. and New York Attorney General Letitia James over Amazon’s alleged retaliatory firing of its workers in April 2020, Amazon filed a motion for summary judgment and Attorney General James filed a motion to dismiss Amazon’s complaint on Friday. Amazon questioned whether the Attorney General can exert her authority over the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in this matter, while Attorney General James sought to assert her jurisdiction over the investigation.
Amazon claimed that they “implemented over 150 process changes to promote social distancing, hygiene, and the safety of its associates, expanded its paid and unpaid leave programs in light of the pandemic,” and more to ensure the safety of their workers. They also said that they were “fully justified in taking disciplinary actions against Mr. Smalls and Mr. Palmer for violating workplace safety rules,” and that their firings were not retaliatory. In their motion for summary judgment, the plaintiffs alleged that the Attorney General’s actions pre-empted OSHA and the NLRB under the National Labor Relations Act, claiming that they have been irreparably harmed by these actions.
Attorney General Letitia James asserted that “OSHA has left COVID-19 workplace safety issues to the states,” and furthermore that “a safe and retaliation-free workplace is an important state interest.” The defendant continued by claiming that “the complaint fails to state a claim,” arguing that Amazon’s case should be dismissed. The attorney general wrote counter-arguments to each of the points mentioned in the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in order to argue that her actions were justified.
Amazon is seeking summary judgment for declaratory and injunctive relief enjoining Attorney General Letitia James. Attorney General James is seeking to dismiss Amazon’s complaint, or to stay proceedings.
Amazon is represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.